For the past three years I’ve had in my possession a rather nice 50 something inches projection TV that I might have liked under other circumstances.
A refrigerator. That’s what my husband was supposed to be shopping for when he went to the appliance store that day way back when. He did purchase a refrigerator that day. He also bought a TV. For a lot of reasons that still don’t make enough sense to me to try to explain, that stupid TV sat for over 5 years, unopened still in the box and unwatched. It made sense in his mind, I’m sure, when he bought it. It never made sense to me.
We had plans to move once. We prettied up our house and placed a for sale sign out in the front yard. We found a house that would fit our family of 6…and the TV. When that house was sold to someone else, we started looking at other houses; many really nice houses that would have would have been perfect for us. But then there was the TV. “Our TV won’t fit in this house,” he would say, as we walked away from the house which would never see our happily ever.
When we decided to take our house off the market, the TV stayed in the box. “If we move, it will be hard to move the TV if it’s not in the box,” he’d say. There was always a different reason why we couldn’t take the TV out of the box.
We never saw our happily ever after, either. He got the house, I got the TV. Aside from a table that was too big to fit into my apartment and a small loveseat that my parents had given me, I had no furniture when I moved out on my own. My children and I slept on an air mattress for several months because we didn’t have beds…but we had that TV. Spite.
One day when I picked up my kids for their time with me they came out to the car with no clothes or belongings, only with what they were wearing. He had decided that their things would stay at his house, and none of those things could come to mine. It took several months of shopping at thrift stores to replace those things. In the interim, they had very few possessions to speak of. But we had the TV.
I remember the feeling I expected to feel when I turned on the TV for the first time; that is, a feeling of vindication, victory, redemption.
I felt none of those things.
I tried selling it once; listing it on Craigslist thinking that I would get some money out of it, but after I found a million other similar TV’s in better condition being listed for “Free” I concluded I was stuck with it forever. That made me even more angry. Spite.
A friend of mine offered to buy it for $150, and I was offended; telling him that the TV was much more valuable than that.
Then I thought about just putting it by the dumpster at the rental community I live in with a sign that said “Still Works. Free.” But then that would have meant that someone would have gotten a free TV.
When I moved last fall, the technician who came out to my house to hook up the cable said he “might” be interested in buying it; and instead of taking him up on his offer, I declined, thinking that I just paid someone to move it to the new home.
At the strangest point of our marriage…that is, the point where we were seated in separate rooms as we decided who got what…I was advised to make a list of things that I wanted to take with me. I picked up the pen and at the top of my list was… the TV. I didn’t want the TV. But I thought that he did, and that was reason enough to put it on my “list.”
Spite. It didn’t occur to me that he might actually agree to my taking the TV. It turns out that he cared more about my leaving than he did that stupid TV. Because admittedly, every TV is stupid; and no TV is worth fighting over.
It also never occurred to me that the TV was not so easy to transport and that I would have to pay three separate people three separate times to move the TV, in order to keep it among my possessions. So there you go. Spite.
In the three years I have had it, we’ve watched it enough. It has been the victim of a variety of mishaps that only a big bulky television in a home with children can endure. Like I said, it has moved three times, and every time, it has started looking rougher than it was when I pulled it out of the box for the first time three years ago.
At times I’ve watched the TV and thought about the joy that I assumed I would get from watching it, but had yet to have the pleasure of experiencing. It is hard to get joy from anything that you know you have only because you were trying to be spiteful.
This is the funny thing about spite. Despite the goal you feel it is going to accomplish or the point it is going to prove; those two things never happen. At least this has always been the case with me; and certainly no different when I took the TV away with me and away from him. You know what they say about hindsight. Spite.
A couple of weeks ago the TV broke for good. The extended warranty expired years ago and the TV itself is so outdated it is doubtful anyone would be able to fix it. That is, if I even wanted to fix it. Maybe this would have made some people mad, but not me.
When my son and I pushed it out of the living room and into the garage; in order to make room for the much smaller TV I bought to replace it, I felt nothing but a sense of relief.
Spite. It is a funny thing, indeed.